Miami attorney Angela Marie Abell has been suspended following a July 13 Florida Supreme Court order finding her in contempt of a previous order amid a Florida state bar investigation into her handling settlement awards of children severely injured in an auto accident.
Abell failed to fully respond to a subpoena for trust account records, according to the state court's order. Abell is to remain suspended until she fully complies with the state bar's subpoena and must pay pay the state bar's costs of $1,250, according to the order.
In Florida, court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires.
The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the supreme court's order July 31.
Abell was admitted to the bar in Florida on Jan. 22, 1988, according to her profile at the state bar website. She had no other discipline before the state bar for at least 10 years, according to her profile.
Abell was suspended by order of the State Supreme Court June 27 after the state bar filed a petition for emergency suspension alleging that Abell misappropriated at least $7,123.72 of client funds. Abell also had practiced law under the names Angela Marie Hill and Angela Abell Hill for at least 20 years without changing her official bar name, a violation of Rule 1-3.3, according to that petition.
"The bar’s investigation further revealed approximately $134,000 of unexplained transfers from Abell's trust account from Oct. 18, 2013, through Feb. 10, 2015," the petition said. "Abell claims these transfers are earned fees from prior cases that she left in trust, but had provided no documentation to support her claim."
Most of the allegations stem from seven connected 1997 minor guardianship cases from the same auto accident that left children ages 3 months to 8 years severely injured, according to the petition. Abell had been appointed guardian of the children's property and was probate attorney for two relatives of the children who died from injuries suffered in the auto accident, according to the petition.
Multiple personal injury settlements were reached but Abell did not keep separate trust accounts for each child or the decedent but, instead, deposited the funds into one trust account which contained other client funds.